This soup gets its deep flavor from crisped bacon and a small amount of miso (soybean paste). Harumi Kurihara calls for awase miso, a medium-strength, fairly mild blend of red and white miso. The miso is added at the end to keep it from curdling.
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (may substitute low-sodium chicken broth)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces (about 2/3 cup total)
- 2 slices uncooked bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery (from about 1/2 rib)
- 1 teaspoon medium-strength miso , such as awase, or equal parts red and white miso
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the carrots are very tender. Remove from the heat. Use a potato masher to mash the carrots in the saucepan; or use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to a plate and mash them thoroughly, then return them to the saucepan.
Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until it is crisp. Remove from the heat and add the chopped celery, then add both (with as little fat as possible) to the carrot soup.
Bring the soup back to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat, stir in the miso and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among individual bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve hot.
Adapted from "Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking" (Penguin Group, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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